Head Shots

Raising Kratos would've been better if crunch wasn't edited out

Sony Interactive Entertainment
Kratos and Atreus standing on top of a mountain.
The visuals in God of War are absolutely breathtaking

Now, before you confuse our headline for any sort of antagonism, let us state that Raising Kratos is well worth the watch, even if the entire feature could've been a bit shorter considering the fact all traces of crunch were eradicated.

It's hard to conceive that in the 2 hours of running time, Raising Kratos only has a single reference to Santa Monica's programmers working overtime, and even then it's a sentence that explicitly says it was just some of them who did so. 

For most of the documentary, things like crunch are heavily implied although rarely shown from the perspective of developers, even if there are several points where personal toll on others is painfully evident.

Nevertheless, it seems as if Sony made sure that crunch isn't the main character in Raising Kratos, and the end result can feel like it's dragging on a bit at times, with the main antagonist obviously not being there.

Now, it's perfectly understandable that Sony would shy away from showing something that's being widely criticised and discussed these days, but the entire race against time loses cinematic importance when not contrasted with the actual toll it took.

We'd never approve of the crunch practices we've been hearing about in this past period, but be honest - how many iconic artistic ventures, or any other team-based endeavours for that matter, can you list that didn't feature its participants making great personal sacrifices to ensure their work isn't just work - but a masterpiece. 

Heck, this sort of overdrive seems etched in our DNA, and it often takes a single man's vision to be the sole driver of the human hive-like urge to see things through. It's often the group sacrifice that seals the deal but it all starts with a vision of a masterpiece.

SIEMocap actors being filmed for God of WarGod of War - Motion Capture process with Kratos' Voice actor Christopher Judge

And one thing is for sure, God of War is worthy of being called a masterpiece, but Raising Kratos suggests only the actors, the director and executives paid personal tolls in the development, which is just a shame for the documentary nature of this two-hour feature. 

Raising Kratos rarely goes down to the trenches, passing up on what would normally be considered the focus of documentary work and the added tension of delivering such a high stakes title.

Of course, you could argue that Raising Kratos focuses chiefly on God of War's director Cory Barlog, who can actually be a great indicator of the amount of work that went into the making of Santa Monica studio's masterpiece.

In fact, we swear that if you look around his eyes, you could tell in which development phase they were, which is not least bit surprising considering the sort of responsibility he shouldered with the remaking of Kratos.

It's quite interesting seeing Barlog's evolution next to Kratos' one, as he too went a long way from his youthful appearance during the first two instalments of Sony's franchise, to the point of symbolically mimicking Kratos' in-game growth. 

SonySanta Monica studio team from God of WarGod of War, Raising Kratos, who evolved more, Kratos or Barlog?

Nitpicking aside, where Raising Kratos may fail in following cinematic norms, it excels in portraying just how huge this whole God of War thing really was.

The mere thought of juggling so many responsibilities, at such a gigantic scale is not just intimidating - it makes us wonder how Cory didn't go even crazier around the eyes. Thankfully, the man came through in style, and then some.

God of War ended up being a global talking point, with Santa Monica's game making a splash in virtually every market it launched in, doing exactly what it set out to do - make the same old Kratos but make him different. But still the same. 

I mean, how many games can boast that this was the introduction they've had?

SonyGod of War E3 live gameplay presentation as shown in Raising KratosGod of War E3 live gameplay presentation, Raising Kratos

The importance of new-and-improved Kratos' stretches beyond Santa Monica and it ultimately kickstarted Sony's winning stretch of exclusives, characterised by longer development but no-compromise design. And to say that this approach is proving successful is an understatement.

Ultimately, Raising Kratos is a worthy document of the making of one of the most important games at the moment, but our review had much more to say on that subject.